Category Archives: Uncategorized

MyHistro: Interactive Timeline Builder

Ever wanted combine a series of historical events with images, video, description, and map locations? MyHistro is a free timeline builder that allows users to do this quite easily. Entire stories can be captured using this tool putting historical events into context in terms of both time and location.  There are a number of examples that can be viewed here.  To learn more about each event, click to read more and see more pictures and videos.

Creating a timeline is pretty easy.  First you need to set up a free account, but from there you can build your own stories (projects).  Here is an example that I created telling the story of all the places that I have lived. It took about a half hour to build this timeline.

Creating the timeline is pretty easy. All you do is identify the events you want to describe and provide the dates and descriptions.  Images can be uploaded (though I am having difficulty with this right now, it may be something to do with my OS upgrade to Sierra), but extended descriptions and videos from the web are easily added as well.

There is an ability to create collaborative projects as well so students can work together on a larger timeline project.

Overall this appears to be a nice, easy tool to help students engage with the material more both while learning from the timeline and in creating their own timelines. I’d be interested in hearing about different project ideas that faculty might have that this tool could make possible.

Introducing Lightboard

When creating content for digital delivery (i.e. the Interwebs), it sometimes seems as if we start to lose that important element of the instructor’s presence.  Creating a lecture using screen capture or PowerPoint narration just isn’t the same as being in from of your student so they can see you face, your hands, and hear your voice.  Of course you can just record yourself in front of a white board but then you are turning your back to the camera.  A solution? Something called a Lightboard.  This is a board that allows instructors to face their audience (the camera) and write at the same time.

Lightboards can be built in many ways, but essentially they all include the same parts.  A plexiglass board, a black background, lighting, a mirror, and a camera.  At Morningside we have created our own lightboard thanks to the persistence of Jessica Tinklenberg and the handiness of Jeremy Schneider.

Here is a quick demonstration of the lightboard that was shown in a faculty meeting recently:

Making lightboard videos is very simple, simply prepare your lecture, show up to the studio (currently on the second floor of the library), set the lights (about your height), and turn on the camera.  Any miss-steps, errors, time spent erasing, etc. can be easily edited out post-production.

For me I plan to use this extensively in the development of a potential hybrid stats class in the future.  In the past I used a program that recorded on a virtual whiteboard, but I want my videos for this class to be a bit more personal then my disembodied voice narrating a set of equations. Anyone who does create content using out lightboard we would love for you to share with the community so that we can see how you use it.  Please tweet your video to @MsideEdTech so that we can all see the cool stuff Morningsiders can make!

Morningside Ed Tech Webpage

For several months now I have been collecting many resources, tools, and ideas in an effort to provide these to faculty at Morningside College.  Now these resources are available on the new Educational Technology web page!

I’ve organized this site into three basic parts:

  1. General information about professional development opportunities, communications, and contact information.
  2. Research information on online and blended learning.
  3. Tools for different types of activities (communication, writing/notetaking, Moodle, Softchalk, open educational resources, etc.)

It is my hope that this will serve as an important place for faculty to find and explore different tools and strategies for incorporating educational technology into their classrooms.  If you know of other resources or tools that should be added, please contact me with this information.  As always, I am available for individual consultations and you can use the link at the bottom of my landing page to schedule a meeting with me.

Live Video from Around the World

One more blog post concerning using video in the classroom.  Were you aware that there are a number of live web-cams around the world that you can access? Live cams of Paris, Times Square, Elephants in India, the Omaha Hawk Cam, yes even Cavalier, ND (I know you all were curious about that city!).  A number of zoos and aquariums also have their webcams linked at this site.  You can possibly see a whale shark swim by on the Ocean Voyager WebCam. These and hundreds of others can be found at EarthCam.com. There are also several nature cams that can be found at explore.org.

What might be some potential uses of these  webcams? One possible use might be to see important events that happen to be occurring in real-time.  This could be one way to view the scene during important events. Another use can simply to expose students to what that particular location is like at a point in time.  Some webcams allow for time-lapse video and others still can be maneuvered to get a wider view. However not all of the EarthCams are live video.  Some are static images that can be manipulated.

An annoyance to be aware of is that many of these cams make you watch an ad before you actually get to the live view, but a little patience and you are soon onto taking a gander at Temple Bar in Dublin.

Finally remember the old saying, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” Well this set of live webcams dispel that belief.

 

EDpuzzle: Embedding questions into video

 

Videos, so many videos!  As like my last post, the availability of video is a great asset for teaching and there are ways that we can manipulate video to be more useful for our students. Last time I discussed Vibby as a way to create shorter clips from video.  In this blog I introduce EDpuzzle a tool for embedding questions into video.

Why might instructors choose to embed questions into videos? There are probably two main reasons: 1) to check a students understanding and 2) to simply make sure they watched the video.  Edpuzzle provides a free and easy method for doing both.

EDpuzzle allows faculty to import any video (URL link, files), clip videos down, provide your own audio narration, and to embed questions.  If you create a class in EDpuzzle (students sign up for free and can self enroll into courses making the work on your end as simple as sending an e-mail with a link) you can view the progress of your students in terms of how much of the video they actually watched and how they performed on the questions.  Additionally, instructors can select options that make it impossible to skip forward in the video (so students actually have to let the video run.

Here is an example of an EDpuzzle video that you can try.

The instructor dashboard looks like this after a student has completed a video:

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 10.59.09 AMEDpuzzle can be integrated into Moodle by embedding it onto a page in Moodle or linking from Moodle.  However, there is not currently an integration with Moodle gradebook.  So if you want to have the EDpuzzle scores a part of your Moodle gradebook, this will need to be done manually.

EDpuzzle can help students engage more with the video and for instructors to track student progress. Best of all, it’s quite easy to use.

How Ed Tech spent its summer vacation

Welcome back to another school year!  The students are back on campus, faculty are busy in their offices developing syllabi and planning their lessons. I hope everyone here had an enjoyable summer and a productive summer (however you define being productive). In this blog I wanted to share what has happened in Ed Tech this summer and to describe a bit my plans for the coming year.

This past summer was a busy one. I had several goals for the summer, most of which I met.  First, and perhaps the most significant was the creation of a formal training workshop for undergraduate faculty who will be teaching online courses.  In collaboration with Michelle Laughlin of the Center for Online Learning, we offered a 4 day training that blended both face-to-face and online components.  Using the Quality Matters rubric as a tool, these faculty began designing their online courses. This form of training will continue to be offered as more of our undergraduate faculty begin teaching online either in the summer or in the new Organizational Management program.

The second major accomplishment was the creation of a Moodle Bootcamp course.  I created this course as an Intro to Moodle.  It is a self-paced course that introduces you to the basic functions of Moodle including creating assignments and quizzes, creating resources such as files and folders, and how to set up a gradebook.  Participants who complete this course will receive a badge showing that they have completed this online training.  Any Morningside Moodle users has access to this Moodle Bootcamp, so if you are interested please check it out.

Another major goal of mine was to offer initial training on using the lesson building software SoftChalk Cloud.  In June those who were interested participated in a two-part webinar.  The ‘Getting Started with Softchalk’ webinar is 1-hour long and you can view the recording here. I do plan to offer some additional resources for those who are interested in learning more about this program.  Keep an eye out for emails from me announcing different webinars that are offered on different topics.  I may also make a few how-to videos myself to help fill in the gaps.  However, there are several video tutorials available from SoftChalk to get you started that are worth checking out.

Looking forward I have several goals for the upcoming school year.

  • Create a webpage for educational technology resources
  • Offer several faculty development workshops. Topics planned so far include
    • QM summer pilot panel
    • Using technology to discuss and engage
    • Developing student writing in online/blended courses
  • Explore the potential for a badging system for faculty professional development
  • Create a recognition system for faculty using technology in creative and innovative ways
  • Continue work on implementation of Quality Matters – attending QM conference in late October
  • Incorporate Ed Tech’s role in Academic Challenge initiative on campus

In addition to the bigger goals, I hope to increase my consultations with faculty and to continue to be proactive in discussing the role of ed tech with faculty and departments.  I look forward to working with all of you this upcoming year.  I welcome any feedback on the resources that I have created and ones that you feel are needed.  I hope everyone has an excellent school year!

VoiceThread: A different way to engage your students

This week I choose to describe a product called VoiceThread. It’s difficult to summarize exactly what VoiceThread is because it is a tool that can be used in many ways. Primarily it is a way to easily incorporate voice and video commenting onto digital media. But really the whole is different from the sum of its parts here in my opinion. Before I start to describe some ways that VoiceThread might be used, let me give you an example.  Visit this VoiceThread that I made. You can choose to comment as well by creating your own free account. You can provide new comments. But any direct relies to me (or to my dummy me) can only be seen by me with the free version. Threaded comments (i.e. direct replies to posts) are a feature of a paid subscription to the service.

https://voicethread.com/share/7689585/

 

So in the example you can see how I’ve presented some media (primarily a PP slide and some images) along with either a video or audio comment giving some information.  I also have a dummy student account that I used to post some comments so you can see how this feature is used.

What’s interesting to me is that I think that this product could be used in many different ways both in online courses and within traditional courses.  Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Narrate over your PP slides: VT imports PP slides one at a time so you can narrate over one slide. Then if you need to change something in the future you can change just one piece of the lecture rather than the whole thing.  I’d recommend making a MASTER copy of the lecture and then creating copies for each time a course is delivered.  Additionally as students are watching and listening to your slides, they can insert questions and comments which everyone can then see and reply back to.
  2. Conduct a video analysis: You can import video files and then narrate and manipulate the video (Like a play back when you watch sports). This could be useful for film students, analyzing speeches, or for coaches and athletes.
  3. Use as an alternative to a traditional text-based discussion forum: A prompt could be written on a PP side or other media could be presented to be the topic of discussion.  Users can then post their threads and rely to others. The whole discussion can then be played back and listened to.
  4. Engage in a debate: Similar to a discussion forum, have students have a debate back and forth replying to one another’s positions and assertions.
  5. Evaluate a visual image: Analyze a photograph, painting, etc. Use the markup features to highlight the elements being discussed.
  6. Receive feedback on a speech and visual aids: Have speech students create a first draft of their speech, record it through VT and then have peers provide feedback.

There is a free version of VT which is a public option. However, there are also subscription services to this product that provide some more privacy and integration within a schools LMS. Until we decide if Morningside might use VT extensively, I encourage you, if you are comfortable in doing so to play around with this product and see how you might use this in your course.

Nearpod: Giving presentations on your students’ devices

In this week leading up to Spring Break (The Ed Tech blog will be going to Daytona Beach for spring break – alas I’ll be staying in sunny Sioux City) I want to share a presentation/activity application that has been relatively popular in K-12 called Nearpod.  Nearpod is a presentation and activity application that allows instructors to control the pace of the lesson from their device, but also allows students to see the materials on their own devices rather than a screen at the front of the room.

Some of the immediate benefits that I see from this is that you can incorporate both the material and the activity into one application, teachers and students alike report increased levels of engagement in class, the activities allow for immediate feedback, and the more up-close presentation style can allow for small images to be more easily seen.

To give you a taste of Nearpod here are three short videos.  The first shows how easy it is to create these presentations. The second shows the view from the student perspective and the third from the view of the teacher.

In this first video I create one content slide and two interactive slide (a quiz and a draw activity).

This second video shows the student’s view.  In this view as the student I am not able to progress myself across slides.  In the quiz feature however, I am able to go at my own pace from question to question.

In the third video is the instructor view.  Here as the instructor I am dictating the pace of the slides.  You’ll see when the quiz slide is up I’ll see student progress and see what they got right/wrong. In the draw slide I’ll see the drawings as they are submitted.  I can then choose a student drawing to share to other student’s devices anonymously (no name attached).  Nice way to do some peer review or critiquing.

 

Though Nearpod has been used almost exclusively in K-12 and most of the ready-made lessons available are for K-12 students, there has been some headway into Higher Education.  The University of Brighton in the UK ran a pilot asking instructors volunteer to use Nearpod in their university courses.  Overall the reviews were positive and both instructors and students enjoyed the experience and felt like it improved their learning.  Here is a link to the Nearpod blog which contains a link to Univ. of Brighton’s full report.

Many of the features are free to use with an account, but the premium account offers some more potentially useful features such as:

  • Pushing web content
  • Pushing PDFs
  • Inserting a Twitter Feed
  • Virtual Reality field trips
  • Fill-in-the-blank questions
  • Memory Test

There are also self-guided features where instructors can assign homework via Nearpod (so it’s not always instructor driven pace).  One creative way to use this that I say is to use these self-guided lessons and interactive activities as a way to help student brainstorm through a project or problem.  Students are also able to create their own Nearpod presentations/lessons and as we all know, when students are doing the creating themselves good things can happen.  This could also serve as a form of electronic assessment artifact potentially.

The one major weakness I see is that Nearpod is best utilized by the students when they have a tablet device or computer with touchscreen technology.  The Draw activity is a potentially powerful application (think math, problem solving, drawing diagrams), but is awkward on a computer with a mouse. Other than this obvious weakness, there are some exciting possibilities with this application.

Bubbli and other 360 Resources

Ever wanted to share more than just one image with a picture? Did a static pano just not quite give you the full effect of the scene? Now there are free tools to create interactive spheres of images!  Bubbli is one such tool.  Using just your smartphone you can create a full 360 (up down, side to side, really more than just 360) image.

Here is one that I created of my office

Now beyond just being cool, there could be some utility for this in the classroom.  For example, if you were to go on a field trip and require your students to build some type of assignment about their trip, this could be a tool that allows for a type of virtual tour to be created.

For instructors who take their students on other trips (such as Morningside’s May Term) this could be an interesting way for students to create their journals.  Generally including the “Bubble” is as easy as embedding this into a website (it appears WordPress does not allow the embed code in their HTML editor).  But I was easily able to do this through the Moodle text box. An assignment like this could be achieved using the online text Assignment feature, or even the individual wiki feature.

There are also other 360 degree resources out there that might be of use for teachers.  One that I ran across comes from the Civil War Trust and provides 360 guided tours of some of the Civil War battlegrounds. This could provide a powerful visual when discussing the battle itself and battle strategy.

Another area might be in Art history and looking at specific sites and/or buildings. Columbia University Media Center for Art History has a few 360 panoramas.

Google searches for places and 360 generally will take you to some images that have been created.  Here’s one close to my heart of Machu Picchu.

 

 

 

 

Smithsonian X 3D

This week in Ed Tech I’m going to bounce off the general topic from last week on Google’s 3D technology Google Cardboard and share another site that uses some 3D technology: Smithsonian X 3D.

This site houses a few objects from the Smithsonian that have been scanned into a 3D image that can be manipulated on a screen (no it does not have a Google Cardboard feature, but wouldn’t that be cool!). The types of images range from artifacts like statues, live masks, furniture, historic clothing, fossils, and some galactic images (supernova).

Some of the features of this site include being able to ‘turn’ the object around to see all sides, take measurements using the tool feature, and to use different angles of light to explore the object.  Some of these objects also come with a guided tour. There are also downloads to create 3D prints of the object should you have access to a 3D printer.

Though a bit limited in its current offerings there could be some objects that might be pertinent to your classroom.  It’s worth checking out